Maryland Basketball to Play in Baltimore Next Season in Late December?

This is not the first time this has been brought up, but it's good to get a bit of (admittedly soft) confirmation: Mark Turgeon reportedly says Maryland will play a yet-to-be-determined opponent in Baltimore "around Christmastime" next season.

Of course, that means it'll be in 1st Mariner Arena, a rapidly-aging 14,000-seater. That's far from ideal, but that's about the only problem; frankly, I'm still in love with the idea. Maryland needs to be increasing its profile in Baltimore, especially with guys like Bino Ranson on the staff and Nick Faust on the roster. There's no question that they should be Charm City's team, but more often than not it doesn't seem that way, with the legacies of Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse and Rudy Gay at UConn still looming large. Consistently playing there is a good way to help forge a consistent presence. I'd like to see something similar in DC, too.

There's still the obvious question about who'll they'll play, which is something we likely won't find out until spring sometime. The timing - presumably, late December - is certainly cupcake season, though that would be such a massive waste that I can't really imagine them going down that route. At least for the first few times I'd prefer a team with a low likelihood of local support while still retaining name recognition - perhaps a Midwestern team along the lines of Cincinnati, Marquette, Oklahoma St., or the like.

For the record, this fits in with Maryland's increasing tendency to play "home" games away from home, and I wouldn't be surprised to see even more of it coming down the pipe. I know several are upset about "gifting away" home games, but that's really not the case - not only will they see independent benefits from increased branding in local cities, they'll also get substantial payoffs, which is as important as anything else for the athletic department these days.

Now set up a home-and-home with Georgetown and we're all set.

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